Department of Natural Resources
March 12, 2021
The ground may look damp and muddy, but grass and brush are dry in spring even if the ground is wet. That means fire can spread fast.
“Everybody wants to get out and clean up their yard, but it’s important check conditions before burning and to understand how dry these fuels on the ground are,” said Paul Rogers, fire prevention specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Debris burning is the No. 1 cause of wildfires in Michigan, and some fires already have scorched Lower Michigan landscapes, including a 432-acre fire in the state's Thumb region.
Open burning is allowed where the ground is still snow-covered. Otherwise, a free burn permit is required. Burn permits in the southern Lower Peninsula are issued by local fire departments and government offices. In the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula, residents can check the map at Michigan.gov/BurnPermit to see if debris/open burning is permitted in their counties.
Rogers urged people to be careful when burning yard debris, enjoying campfires or doing other outdoor activities, especially those that include heat or gas-powered engines. Among the DNR’s recommendations: